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The Volunteer Services Center was founded in the Fall of 1989 under the direction of Dr. William R. Butler, Vice President for Student Affairs at that time.

Dr. William R. Butler
Dr. William R. Butler



1965



SUMMON and the Wesley Foundation
Of the first volunteer organizations at the University of Miami, the student organization SUMMON (Students at the University of Miami Move on Need) was established through the Wesley Foundation on campus. The Wesley Foundation would assign UM student volunteers to special projects throughout South Florida with the purpose of assisting the less fortunate. This new student volunteer program was a great success and hundreds of UM students assumed active roles in the SUMMON program. The SUMMON program was then transferred to the Undergraduate Student Government in 1968. However, the SUMMON program did not last long under this new administrative setup. Thus, for over a decade, from 1973 to 1989, there was no formal student volunteer program on our campus.



1985



Edward T. Foote II Award in Student Leadership
The first Edward T. Foote II Award in Student Leadership was established and awarded. This award is presented annually at the Celebration of Involvement to a full-time graduating student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership both on campus and in the community.



1987



The Vice President's Award for Service
Dr. Butler discussed the feasibility of starting a campus volunteer program with President Tad Foote and Provost Luis Glaser which eventually led to the creation of the Student Volunteer Center. The National Vice President's Group, which was co-founded by Dr. Butler, met in California in the summer of 1987 and Dr. Butler took the opportunity to visit the volunteer programs in place at Stanford University and the University of Southern California. The program at Stanford University awarded its student volunteers with a medallion. Eventually, UM had a medallion cast which has been awarded to outstanding UM student volunteers as well as others since 1991. The Vice President's Award for Service is awarded to a male and female student each year at the Celebration of Involvement.



1989



Student Volunteer Center
The Student Volunteer Program was started at UM during the same year that President George H. Bush proposed the "1,000 Points of Light Program," which encouraged young people to become actively involved in volunteering in their community. At the time, a recent UM graduate was hired as the coordinator of the program and served in this one-year, non-renewable position. Aley Koshy was name the first Volunteer Services Coordinator and was later the Volunteer Services Director when the Program was renamed the Student Volunteer Center soon after its establishment. The volunteer office was located in the Smith-Tucker Involvement Center (STIC) in the Ruth King Stanford International Lounge of the Norman A. Whitten University Center. The Center was an immediate success and partnered with 15-20 community volunteer organizations almost immediately. A program designed to tutor middle school students was the most popular program.

Iron Arrow Society Sophomore Leadership Award
Iron Arrow Honor Society, the highest honor at the University of Miami, has recognized a sophomore since 1989 who has exhibited outstanding leadership, scholarship and service to the University. The recipient of this award receives a plaque and a scholarship at the Celebration of Involvement.



1997



Graduate School Award for Service
Beginning in 1996, the recognition of graduate students also occurred for appreciation of their services to the community and University. These graduate awards are presented by the Dean of the Graduate School to students for their service and excellence in student life.



1997



William R. Butler Volunteer Services Center
Upon Dr. Butler's retirement, the Student Volunteer Center was renamed the William R. Butler Center for Volunteer Services.



2002



Robert Bates Cole Award
Given by the Lennar Foundation since 2002, the Robert Bates Cole Award is awarded to a University of Miami student who has exemplified the characteristics of integrity and dedication through exceptional, committed and unassuming participation in community service.



2006



William R. Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership Development
The Butler Center assumed responsibility for leadership programs and student life assessment, creating the William R. Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership Development.



2011



Sherwood M. Weiser Memorial Fund for Student Community Service

Established in honor of UM's late trustee, Sherwood M. Weiser, the fund is awarded to students who possess a combination of character and compassion along with exhibiting a strong commitment to community service while at UM.



2012



Excellence in Civic Engagement Award

The Office of Civic and Community Engagement recognizes faculty members who work with UM students who are engaged in community-identified needs through academic service-learning courses and community-based research.


Credit: Dr. William R. Butler, Vice President for Student Affairs Emeritus